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Member since: Fri Sep 17, 2004, 02:59 PM
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Justice Clarence Thomas says blacks didn’t think about race in the 1950s South.

Justice Clarence Thomas says blacks didn’t think about race in the 1950s South.
By Dahlia Lithwick

"we are probably today more race- and difference-conscious than I was in the 1960s when I went to school.”

Segregated drinking fountains in North Carolina in 1950.

"To my knowledge, I was the first black kid in Savannah, Ga., to go to a white school. Rarely did the issue of race come up. … Now, name a day it doesn’t come up. Differences in race, differences in sex, somebody doesn’t look at you right, somebody says something. Everybody is sensitive. If I had been as sensitive as that in the 1960s, I’d still be in Savannah. Every person in this room has endured a slight. Every person. Somebody has said something that has hurt their feelings or did something to them—left them out."

Students hold a sign reading "Woodlawn Boycott ... We hate niggers" in downtown Birmingham, Ala., after cutting classes at Woodlawn High School on Sept. 10, 1957. About 100 white students refused to go to school as integration tension plagued the city.

“The worst I have been treated,” Thomas went on to add, “was by Northern liberal elites.”

Sarah Jean Collins, 12, was hospitalized by a dynamite explosion set off in the basement of her Birmingham, Ala., church on Sept. 15, 1963, that killed her sister and three other girls as their Sunday school class was ending.


Allison Grimes: McConnell-"Kind of like heating a biscuit twice, never tastes good the 2nd time"

Extra Bonus Quote of the Day

"I think what people - not just Kentucky, but the nation - are seeing is that Mitch McConnell, kind of like heating a biscuit twice, never tastes good the second time, no matter how much jam or jelly you put on it."

-- Kentucky U.S. Senate candidate Allison Lundergran Grimes (D), quoted by the Washington Post.


An Athlete We Can All Love

VANCOUVER, British Columbia — David Backes went to Sochi hoping to bring home a gold medal with the U.S. hockey team. Instead, the St. Louis Blues’ captain brought back a couple of stray puppies.

Backes and his wife, Kelly, rescued the dogs from the streets of the Olympic city with members of the Canadian team’s entourage. Now in quarantine in St. Louis, the dogs will eventually be given to good homes.

Backes and his wife, who have four rescue dogs and two rescue cats in their home and set up their own foundation, Athletes for Animals, last November, received helped from Canadian winger Jeff Carter’s girlfriend, Megan Keffer, and defenseman Drew Doughty’s girlfriend, Nicole Arruda, and others. The 3- to- 4-month-old pups, named Sochi Junior and Sochi Jake, were brought back to the U.S. on an Air Atlas charter to Newark and another flight to St. Louis.

“They fought for their lives every day on the street and now they’re laying on our laps in flights across the Atlantic,” Backes said.


Ohio just withdrew its 'religious freedom' bill in response to Brewer's veto

Religious freedom bill pulled by sponsors
By Jim Siegel and Alan Johnson
Wednesday February 26, 2014 5:55 PM

The proposed “Ohio Religious Freedom Restoration Act” has been derailed by its sponsors because of concerns that it may discriminate against gay Ohioans.

“We never started out with some idea of giving people the right to discriminate. That doesn’t work in this country,” said Rep. Bill Patmon, a Cleveland Democrat who jointly sponsoring the bill with Rep. Tim Derickson, R-Oxford. “If anybody knows me and knows my record, they know I’ve fought discrimination.”

Shortly after Patmon and Derickson announced they wanted the bill withdrawn, Rep. Jim Butler, R-Oakwood, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said that “no future consideration will be given to H.B. 376.”

“We need to kill this bill,” Ian James, the group’s executive director, said of House Bill 376. “It's dangerous and eerily similar to the Arizona legislation.”



State lawmakers in Ohio are withdrawing legislation that mirrors an Arizona "religious freedom" bill that has come under fire for protecting those who assert their religious beliefs in refusing service to gays.

Republican state Rep. Tim Derickson and Democratic state Rep. Bill Patmon issued a joint statement Wednesday citing concern over the bill's unintended consequences.

The pair said the bill they introduced in December was intended to protect the ability of Ohioans to freely worship and exercise their religious beliefs, not to promote discrimination.


Gov. Christie: “I’m not going to worry about politics anymore, everybody. This is it."

At least, that is what he said at a recent town hall.

Christie, who once led the pack in the nascent race to be the GOP’s presidential nominee in 2016, noted that it’s his last term as governor. “I’m not going to worry about politics anymore, everybody. This is it. I’m on the back nine,” he insisted. “When you’re on the back nine and you don’t have to worry about playing another front nine, your only obligation is to tell people the truth.”


Obama Asks Court To Make NSA Database Even Bigger

The Obama administration has asked a special court for approval to hold onto National Security Agency phone records for a longer period–an unintended consequence of lawsuits seeking to stop the phone-surveillance program.

The Wall Street Journal reported last week that the Justice Department was considering such a move, which would end up expanding the controversial phone records database by not deleting older call records.

Under the current system, the database is purged of phone records more than five years old. The Justice Department, in a filing made public Wednesday, said it needs to hold onto the older records as evidence in lawsuits brought by the American Civil Liberties Union, Electronic Frontier Foundation, and others.

Under the proposal made to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, the older data would continue to be held, but NSA analysts would not be allowed to search it.


Sen Reid: “I can’t say every 1 of Koch brothers ads are a lie--but I’ll say this…vast majority are"

“I can’t say that every one of the Koch brothers ads are a lie, but I’ll say this … the vast, vast majority of them are,” Reid said on Wednesday afternoon. “It’s too bad that they are trying to buy America. And it’s time that the American people spoke out against this terrible dishonesty of these two brothers, who are about as un-American as anyone that I can imagine.”

The remarks continued a day-long diatribe against the Kochs, just the latest in Reid’s months-long barrage of criticism aimed at the Kochs. On Wednesday morning, Reid blasted the billionaire Koch brothers on Wednesday of having “no conscience” and spreading lies about Obamacare through political ads.

“The Koch brothers are spending hundreds of millions of dollars telling Americans that Obamacare is bad for them. It’s easy to do if you have no conscience and are willing to lie like they are, through the ads they’re promoting. But the Kochs should stick to what they know: The oil business … where they’ve made their multi-billions of dollars,” Reid said.


Documents Say Navy Knew Fukushima Dangerously Contaminated the USS Reagan

But a stunning new report by an American scholar based in Tokyo confirms that Naval officers communicated about what they knew to be the serious irradiation of the Reagan. Written by Kyle Cunningham and published in Japan Focus, “Mobilizing Nuclear Bias” describes the interplay between the U.S. and Japanese governments as Fukushima devolved into disaster.

Cunningham writes that transcribed conversations obtained through the Freedom of Information Act feature naval officials who acknowledge that even while 100 miles away from Fukushima, the Reagan’s readings “compared to just normal background [are] about 30 times what you would detect just on a normal air sample out to sea.”

On the nuclear-powered carrier “all of our continuous monitors alarmed at the same level, at this value. And then we took portable air samples on the flight deck and got the same value,” the transcript says.

Serious fallout was also apparently found on helicopters coming back from relief missions. One unnamed U.S. government expert is quoted in the Japan Focus article as saying:

At 100 meters away it (the helicopter) was reading 4 sieverts per hour. That is an astronomical number and it told me, what that number means to me, a trained person, is there is no water on the reactor cores and they are just melting down, there is nothing containing the release of radioactivity. It is an unmitigated, unshielded number. (Confidential communication, Sept. 17, 2012).


Cartoon: Arizona discrimination, Leviticus style


Swiss Bank helped wealthy Americans hide billions of dollars from U.S. tax collectors

Credit Suisse helped wealthy Americans cheat the IRS, Senate report says

Alessandro Della Bella/AP - At a time when the United States deficit remains high by historical standards, lawmakers say federal prosecutors have failed to collect billions of dollars in unpaid taxes owed by Americans with Swiss bank accounts.

By Danielle Douglas, Published: February 25 E-mail the writer

Swiss banking giant Credit ­Suisse helped wealthy Americans hide billions of dollars from U.S. tax collectors for several years and federal prosecutors have done little to hold violators accountable, according to a U.S. Senate subcommittee report due out Wednesday.

The allegations were particularly stunning in the face of the budget cuts and deficits that the United States faces, lawmakers said. The report casts the Justice Department as a hapless enforcer that has dragged its feet in getting Credit Suisse to turn over the names of some 22,000 U.S. customers.


Lawmakers have accused the bank of helping wealthy Americans avoid paying taxes on as much as $12 billion in assets held at the institution. Prosecutors have been aware of the misconduct at Credit Suisse for at least four years, in which time they have indicted seven bankers and launched a probe of the institution, according to the report. But no one has stood trial, and the bank has not been held legally accountable, the report says.

Justice spokeswoman Emily Pierce bristled at the report’s characterization of the department, pointing out that it has charged 73 account holders and 35 bankers and advisers with offshore tax evasion offenses since 2009.

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